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June 14, 2023

Trump Pleads Not Guilty to All 37 Counts

The former president made his appearance, denounced the charges, and quickly got back into campaign mode.

It was the least surprising news of the week. Or the month. Or the year.

Yesterday, in a Miami courthouse, Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to Team Biden’s 37-count felony indictment on charges that he mishandled classified documents, refused to return them, and obstructed “justice” along the way. (Incidentally, those of you who object to our characterization of this as Team Biden’s indictment or our snarky scare quotes around the word “justice” might want to check out other conservative commentary, where the Trump hatred is rich and unfettered. Here in our humble shop, though, we’ll strive for a more balanced analysis.)

As the Adulterated Press reports, “The history-making court date, centered on charges that Trump mishandled government secrets that as commander-in-chief he was entrusted to protect, kickstarts a legal process that will unfold at the height of the 2024 presidential campaign and carry profound consequences not only for his political future but also for his own personal liberty.”

Earlier this week, our Nate Jackson noted that Trump’s predicament is both politically motivated and perilous. After all, guilty verdicts on any of the worst of these charges could put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

But while it’s true that Trump’s very freedom is at stake, and that his defense team can’t lose even one of the 37 counts, it’s also well worth noting that special prosecutor Jack Smith can’t lose even one juror. And what are the odds that a Florida jury sees things a bit differently than a DC jury? After all, the former went narrowly for Trump in 2020, while the latter went 92%-5% against him. What are the odds that a Cuban or Venezuelan expat slips through the prosecution’s peremptory challenges and engages in some good old-fashioned Simpsonesque jury nullification?

In short, DC is a rigged town, but Florida is a free state.

As for the former president, he was characteristically unbowed and unflinching during his court appearance. This never-quit, never-surrender, never-say-you’re-sorry approach is a character trait that his supporters find deeply endearing, but his enemies find anywhere from off-putting to white-hot infuriating. Too bad for them.

As the AP continues: “Trump approached his arraignment with characteristic bravado, posting social media broadsides against the prosecution from inside his motorcade en route to the courthouse and insisting — as he has through years of legal woes — that he has done nothing wrong and was being persecuted for political purposes. But inside the courtroom, he sat silently, scowling and arms crossed, as a lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his behalf in a brief arraignment that ended without him having to surrender his passport or otherwise restrict his travel.”

If Trump was scowling, then so was the mainstream media. CNN’s Jake Tapper, for one, was downright disconsolate. As Townhall’s Rebecca Downs observed: “After leaving the courthouse, Trump went to the famous Versailles Cuban bakery where people prayed over him and wished him a ‘Happy Birthday.’ Trump looked to be at home as he made time with his supporters. Yet CNN’s Jake Tapper just couldn’t deal with his network daring to show footage of the interactions in real time, as he very quickly told the people in the control room to cut the feed.”

Poor Jake. He’ll never understand Trump’s appeal. Nor will those on the Left who can’t get it through their heads that Trump’s supporters don’t care about indictments or material Trump claimed authority to posses or that shouldn’t have been classified to begin with. They care only about blood. Or, to use a more genteel term, they care only about retribution. More than anything else, they want to see Trump rightfully restored to power, and then they want to see him take revenge on those who’ve persecuted him ever since he and Melania came down the escalator.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this week, it’s that the Leftmedia cares deeply about Trump’s indictment but not a lick about Biden’s corruption. As Newsbusters reports: “Over four days (June 8-June 12) the Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) broadcast networks predictably crammed their evening, morning and Sunday roundtable shows with a total of 291 minutes of coverage dedicated to the Trump indictment. But how much did the Biden/Burisma alleged bribery scheme receive? Zero seconds.”

That’s right: zero seconds for a sitting president who may well have taken bribes when he was Barack Obama’s vice president. So much for priorities.

During a primetime address last night from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump denounced the charges against him as “the most evil and heinous abuse of power in the history of our country.” He also called it a “sham indictment put forward by the Biden administration,” and he attacked special counsel Smith with gusto.

As for the agony of the Angry Left, columnist Stephen Kruiser writes: “This was, of course, supposed to be a huge day of celebration for the Trump-hating Left, including the Never Trump loons, who have at last abandoned any pretense of being right-of-center. While perusing the social media frenzy all day, however, one got the sense that even the most frothing-at-the-mouth Trump-haters are growing a bit weary of the whole ‘walls are closing in’ shtick. It’s understandable. By now, they’ve essentially become Wile E. Coyote to Trump’s Roadrunner.”

Trump has repeatedly vowed that he and he alone can destroy the deep state, and while that prospect might be — or rather is — deeply appealing to his supporters, our constitutional system doesn’t provide a means for him fully accomplishing that feat. If he has a plan for overcoming the bureaucratic entrenchment that plagues us, he should spell it out.

Likewise, if Trump has a plan for beating the Democrats at their own ballot-harvesting electoral game — and it appears that he does — he should promote it vigorously during his campaign stops, and he should enlist the support of the entire Republican Party to this end.

Because if Republicans don’t take back the presidency in 2024, if they can’t convince the American people that they deserve to govern, then the Democrats’ deep-state corruption and dirty trickery will have been vindicated. And institutionalized. And none of this will have mattered.

Updated with an additional closing thought on what’s at stake in 2024.

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